My Tickers

Saturday, March 28, 2009

504 is now in place

Just in case you don't know what it is:

" Section 504 is a federal act which prohibits discrimination against persons with a handicap in any program receiving federal assistance. The act defines a person with a handicap as anyone who:

1. has a mental or physical impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities (caring for ones self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working)

2. has a record as having such an impairment; or

3. is regarded (perceived) as having such an impairment"

Since Orion has ADHD, he qualifies for what they call a "504 Plan" Basically this means that because he has a condition (ADHD) that hinders with his learning process he gets to have special accomodations to ensure he has the same chance to succeed as every other child in the school.

His plan isn't anything too major, it basically ensures that it's ok for the teacher to redirect him when he gets distracted (he's a day dreamer and if the teacher sees that during testing, especially during MCAS, she needs to be able to speak with him and get him back on task) He needs to have his work broken down into smaller portions because he gets very overwhelmed when he sees a lot of stuff handed to him at once. He literally freezes and simply can not begin the test because he's so distracted by the size of the task in front of him. His time limits need to be flexible because he can not do well under doesn't mix with ADHD well at all....he has trouble maintaining his attention span and therefore he has trouble completing tasks on he needs extra time. He needs to be able to walk away and cool off when he gets into frustrating situations rather than scream at and lose his temper with other children. Orion is basically on overdrive and he will get very frustrated with other children who just don't understand stuff as quickly as he can. Social problems are directly connected to ADHD and he is in a special social group at school to help him learn how to be more social (this is another part of his plan) He also has the right to ask to go talk with the school councelor/psychologist and that will have to be scheduled as quickly as possible after he requests a meeting with her. He needs to be able to talk to someone and understand where the social situations went wrong and how he could deal with it better in the future.

Here's our history and how we came to the diagnosis of ADHD for Orion:

I have to admit, at first the concept of my child even having something "wrong" with him was appalling to me. He's my perfect little boy, he's always been active , always did things that scared me and always made me shake my head and wonder what the next trick would be. He was climbing the stair railings and the back of the couch before he could even walk on his own. He would pull himself to a stand in his crib and let go (falling stiff as a board straight backward) and laugh. The only time he didn't laugh at that trick was when he tried it in the living room and landed on hard wood floors....then he cried! I knew I had my hands full when, at preschool, I was called in because he had literally round-house kicked a boy in the head because the boy was sitting on HIS RED SQUARE...ok so there were other red squares but apparently he didn't want one of those. He was 2 1/2 and I chalked it up to 2 year old temper tantrums.

In kindergarten I was called in because he had pinched a girl, the next day he had supposedly bitten her only the bite mark was missing 2 front teeth that Orion still had so I doubt he actually did that one. One time I was called in because he had literally told another boy he was "going to kick his ass" That one I was proud of him for and will be for the rest of my life......a couple of boys had stolen a pencil from a little girl with downs syndrome and they were laughing at her and teasing her. Orion told the boy to give back the pencil or he would kick the kids ass.....ok so maybe he shouldn't have been using such harsh language at 5 years old but he was in the right to protect the little girl.

In 1st grade he couldn't get work done on time, his desk was a mess constantly and he was disruptive. I questioned the idea of ADD or ADHD but the teacher said she wasn't sure and that I should talk with my pediatrician. My husband didn't seem to see it as much as I did and I thought maybe I was just going to easy on him, seeing him through a mothers eyes so to speak. Even my mother-in-law wasn't sure that he was hyperactive and maybe he was just being a typical active boy.

But then 2nd grade came along. At the November parent teacher meeting the teacher hinted that she thought Orion might be ADHD. She told me about her personal experience with her daughter going on meds and how much it changed her life...I was determined to fix it and thought we could make it without meds. By March I was getting calls at least once a week about his behavior, notes were coming home almost daily and he was way behind in class work. The teacher would send him out onto the playground with his workbook to try to make up work that he needed to do during recess. By May I was talking to either the teacher or the assistant principal 3 out of 5 days a week about his behavior. He was swinging on bathroom stall doors, slamming doors, being rude and obnoxious to other children, having outbursts of anger that were scaring the other children and he had 1 friend left who would actually play with him or be in a group with him. It was then that I decided that no matter what anyone else said I was going to have him evaluated. It showed that he was indeed ADHD and we put him on Adderall XR.

Since going on the meds Orion is a completely different child. Although he has mood swings that remind me of a boy hitting his teen years, he also has excelled at school. The teacher loves having him, he has created some new friendships and he is getting A's and B's consistantly...mostly A's! He goes to the weekly social group meetings and the other kids are commenting on how much Orion has changed since last much better he is and how well he behaves now. He's slowly but surely catching up in the social part of his life, his self-esteem is way better than it ever was (although he does still have a ways to go since he is so hard on himself) and he's really become a joy to live with. When his meds wear off or when I give him a meds vacation he has a really tough time and you can tell the difference! The psychologist and pediatrician says we should be the spokesfamily for Adderall because it has been such a success for us. I'll admit it, I feel very happy (and lucky) that we found the right meds first time around!

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